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25 Apr 2019, Edition - 1381, Thursday

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Sports

Simone Biles wins record 13th world title, then takes silver in ‘weakest’ event

The Guardian

Simone Biles claimed her third gold medal at the world gymnastics championships in Doha with victory in the women’s vault, then followed it up with a silver in her weakest discipline: the uneven bars.

The 21-year-old American, who previously triumphed in both the team and all-around competitions, scored 15.366 on the vault to comfortably eclipse her rivals, even as she performed a routine of reduced difficulty after falling in Thursday’s all-around that didn’t prevent her from winning by a record margin.

The gold medal was her 13th at a world championships, surpassing the previous all-time record of 12 held by Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo.

Later, Biles finished second on the uneven bars behind Belgium’s Nina Derwael, a major improvement from her 14th-place finish at the Rio Olympics, where she won four gold medals.

But there was a sense that her silver medal on the bars – her first major championship medal on that piece of apparatus – meant as much as the avalanche of golds that continue to fall her way.

Biles scored 14.866 but was never likely to challenge Derwael, who became Belgium’s first gymnastics world champion with a score of 15.200, with Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz taking bronze.

“I’ve come a long way (on the bars) and I’m really pleased with the performance I put out today,” added Biles. “I really put the work and the effort in to bring that event up to the same standard as the others.

“I think I’m off to a good start and hopefully it gets the ball rolling for tomorrow.

“It (my kidney stone) feels pretty good but when I go home from this I’ll be going straight to the doctor the next day.”

Biles, now on three golds and one silver after four events in Doha with Saturday’s closing beam and floor finals to come, is trying to become the first woman to win six medals at a world championships since Yelena Shushunova of the Soviet Union in 1987.

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